Since its launch in 2005, Hoorsenbuhs has quietly gained momentum among LA’s tastemakers, most of whom are friends and colleagues of designer Robert Keith. “Most people build a collection and try to get it into a bunch of stores,” Keith explains. “Ours was a more organic approach. As soon as I would develop a new piece, someone—musicians, visual artists, photographers, actors—would inevitably ask to use it in a project. And the line just grew from there.”
Until recently, the Hoorsenbuhs collection was only available to custom-order from its atelier, a Quonset hut that’s vaguely reminiscent of the brand’s namesake—a Dutch trade ship on which one of Keith’s distant ancestors ferried precious metals and gems around the world. Although the line is now available in select stores like Louis Boston, Paris’ Montaigne Market and Barneys New York, 40% of business still comes from bespoke commissions. “That’s what still interests me the most—having people actively participate in the creation of pieces that will stay with their families for generations,” says Keith. Clients choose from a collection of ring, belt and bracelet designs—all variations on the brand’s signature Tri-Link motif—and can then customize them with their choices of metals and precious gemstone accents.
As Hoorsenbuhs continues its ascent—including plans to incorporate a small apparel collection in the future—Keith’s main concern is in maintaining the strength of its identity. “If you have a strong enough product, it doesn’t matter if someone else copies you exactly, because there will always be a certain energy missing,” he reasons. “At the end of the day, people can only try to draw from your success to further their own agenda—which doesn’t mean you have to make it easy for them to succeed.”
For more information, see www.hoorsenbuhs.com.